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Top 10 Survivor Blunders

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Some people watch Survivor to see people trying to live in the wilderness. Some watch for the tough Challenges. I watch to see people do really stupid things. We honor these people here. You could write a whole article just on general acts of idiocy (like setting up camp in a wash during rainy season, or building a fire shelter out of dry palm branches), but we're focusing on game strategy here. Who did the most to grasp defeat from the clutches of victory?

But first, some of you had suggestions for improving my Survivor All-Star Team. Wanda writes:

I think you forgot one of the most popular survivors of all...Rodger Bingham--Kentucky Joe. He was one of the most liked "Good Old Boys," who was also one of the most intelligent of all the contestants (even if he is from Kentucky). Can't forget Rodger (and that might necessitate Elizabeth, which would soothe the girlie need).

Jonathan adds, "All I know is they better give Rudy from Season 1 another chance to win." You're both right, my team is slanted more toward the young. Just like with the "girlie need," there's no way CBS ignores its older viewers. There will be at least a couple players over 50, and a Rodger/Bessie reunion makes a lot of sense. It also introduces the idea of people having alliances before the game even begins which is another new element that will make S8 fun to watch.


Jerri has a blue bikini
but no white hat.

Finally, Ettaspagetta asks, "But why Jenna?" You gotta have villains. From my team I would be rooting against Jenna and Jerri from the start. I'd also hope Rich gets the boot quick even though I admire his gamesmanship. You can't have a Western if everybody's wearing a white hat.

Yee ha. Let's mock some mistakes. I proudly present the Dang Fun Top 10 Survivor Blunders of All Time:

10. S1--Kelly and Sean don't realize Rich has an alliance.
We're going easy on them because no one had seen the game before. It was Episode 9 and eight castaways remained. Every Tribal Council since the merge had a lot of votes for one person and then scattered votes for everyone else. This week's vote was different as four people voted for Jenna and three people voted for Rich. Colleen, Jenna and Gervase had the right idea in voting for the fat naked guy, but Kelly cast a random vote Sean which allowed Sean's random vote for Jenna (remember his alphabet "strategy") to send her home. By not spotting the voting trend and acting to counter it, Rattana allowed Richard to control the game and stroll away with the first million.

9. S6--Deena turns on Alex too soon.
It's good to make alliances. It's bad to make a new alliance every week. Deena was guilty of just that this past season. She was sitting pretty after Rob, Matt and Alex had joined her in sending Roger and Dave packing. But she got too tricky for her own good and tried to oust Alex next. Amazon had more gossip than any other season so of course word got back to Alex and he pulled a coup of his own. Deena has to go, period, end of statement.

8. S5--Shii Ann merges before everyone else.
There are good times to change allegiances, and there are not so good times. Trying to join the other tribe before you've left your original tribe is one of those ungood times. Shii Ann was tricked into thinking there was a merge and spilled her guts to Clay. If there was a Top 10 list for looks of shock when your blunder has been exposed, the Shii Devil would be number one with a backstabbing bullet.


OeDebbus Rex

7. S2--Debb goes on the show.
There's an unwritten rule in life that says: If you're into something that most of humanity would find peculiar if not downright offensive, it's best to keep it to yourself. So if, for example, your husband dies and you're now romantically living with your stepson, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to apply to be on a national television program.

6. S6--Alex tells Rob he won't make it past final four.
One thing I will never ever understand in the game is telling someone you're going to vote them out before you do it. This isn't a dual to the death. You're not actually ending a fellow competitor's life. There's no need for honor. It's just a mental Capture The Flag. Just play your cards, bluff if you have to, and buy everybody a round of drinks when the game's done. Alex tells Rob he'll be voting him out, Rob doesn't want to get voted out, Rob gets Alex voted out next. The way it should be.

5. S5-- Helen believes Brian.
Brian fooled a lot of people in Thailand but Helen gets extra credit here for having her husband stay in camp for a day and bluntly suggest she vote off Brian, the biggest threat. Helen admitted her blunder during the reunion show, but it doesn't make it less dumb.


Feed the flame.

4. S2--Mike eats fire.
It doesn't have to be intentional to be a major blunder. Survivor 2 changed dramatically when Michael took a big whiff of the campfire and passed out. The merge was just around the corner and Kucha had a 6-5 advantage in people. In the pre-tribe-swap era, if you went into the merge with more people, you knew someone from your tribe was going to win the whole thing. So we enter Episode 6 with Keith and Jerri splitting Ogakor in two. Add in the fact that Kucha had won five of the previous six challenges and you had to think Kucha was looking at walking into the merge with the deck stacked their way. Someone should've told Michael that smoking kills.

3. S3--Brandon chooses unstable majority over stable one.
There's nothing more pathetic on Survivor than a player putting his or her personal feelings before what needs to be done to win the game. Enter Brandon, a delicate little bartender who doesn't like grumpy hunting military men in the NRA. During Episode 8 the remaining original members of Samburu were given a golden opportunity when Lex accused Kelly of a vote she didn't cast. All they had to do was vote out Lex, and old Boran would quickly go bye-bye. Brandon got the memo but his heart wouldn't let him attend the meeting. He turned on his tribe and was immediately voted out at the next Tribal Council. Survivor justice.

2. S4--Rotu alliance tips its hand.
How many idiots does it take to blow an obvious advantage? In the case of Survivor: Marquesas, the answer is four. John, Tammy, Robert and Zoe had exactly what you're looking for in the game: a tight yet hidden alliance. All they had to do was not rock the boat and they were each looking at a 25% chance at the big prize. Well, they didn't just rock the boat, they capsized it, cut it into pieces and hit it with torpedoes. After flaunting their unity in the first rope-chopping Challenge, Vecepia and the other four rejects pulled the biggest Survivor overthrow to date and sent the Rotu 4 out to sea.


"Who's wants my
million dollars?"

1. S2--Colby picks Tina over Keith.
This one just had to be in the top spot because of its simplicity: Colby gave away $900,000. He was in the final three, he won the final Immunity, and he picked the person he liked instead of the person he would've easily beaten. I mean, come on, who was going to vote for a chef who couldn't cook rice? I hope Colby's friends harass him daily. "Hey Colbster, can I borrow $250,000? Oh wait…." He blew his chance to be Sole Survivor but he'll always be sole possessor of the Biggest Blunder.


And that's the list. The beauty of Survivor is each season presents a new chance at glory, and never-ending ridicule. We wish the cast of Survivor 7 well in their quest to bungle their way into the next Top 10.

Blunderfully yours,
Scott


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